On Wednesday 26th May we were delighted to host CZ, Founder and CEO of Binance, for a second Encode Club AMA session!
This AMA was part of the Hack Africa hackathon, our sixth hackathon, and the first Africa-focused hackathon!
Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ, is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record of successful startups who founded Binance in July 2017. He studied computer science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and has previously worked as head of the Bloomberg Tradebook Futures Research & Development team and Head of Technology at Blockchain.info.
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange, founded in 2017 by CZ. As of April 2021 it was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of trading volume. Binance’s ecosystem also includes platforms such as Binance Academy, Trust Wallet, Binance Smart Chain, Launchpad and more!
About Hack Africa
Starting on Tuesday 15th June 2021, Hack Africa challenges students and hackers to build blockchain projects that change the way Africa (and the world) works. There are over $30k in cash prizes available, as well as jobs and investment for the best hackers and projects!
The hackathon will last 8 weeks — 4 weeks for learning, and 4 weeks for hacking. You can register for the hackathon here. Registrations are open until Monday 19th July.
About Encode Club
The purpose of Encode is to educate, support and catalyse the emergence of new talent into the blockchain space. We work across 75 universities worldwide, running hackathons, accelerators, education series as well as investing and recruiting the best to join leading blockchain companies. Read more here.
How much of an impact do you think blockchain, and DeFi particularly, can have on Africa?
I think it’s gonna be humongous. To be very honest, I don’t know to what extent, but Africa has a very unique opportunity where I believe, according to some stats last year, only 11 percent of the population have bank accounts. So there’s not a whole lot of existing financial infrastructure to upend. So the adoption of blockchain technologies and DeFi technologies might be faster than some of the Western, more developed traditional financial markets. And it also offers a way for people to access financial markets directly on the blockchain, which actually provides a much fairer market. We’ve seen this with the internet where, in countries where the landline phones are not very established, they go directly to mobile. We’re hoping that this will happen in Africa. This is why we are very happy to see a lot of educational initiatives and hackathons happening in the African continent and I think it’s gonna be huge.
You did a lot of internships and co-op programs as a student in Canada. What skills did those internships give you that academia didn’t?
I actually think, to be very frank, those internships probably helped me a lot more than the courses in university. This is not to say that courses in university are not important, but after we graduate we don’t really use a lot of the courses that we study in university. I mean, advanced calculus, linear algebra, quantum physics…I don’t use any of that in my day-to-day work. Whereas the internship experience I did, I got to learn about the corporate culture, what people talk about in professional meetings, what people think about, what kind of decision-making goes on in a corporation, etc… And those things are really, really important, those things are very, very helpful. So I think the earlier we have exposure to that the better.
So this is why I think the University of Waterloo co-op programme, where you study for one semester and work for one semester, study-work-study-work, which extends four years to five years, is totally worth it. You get exposure to a lot of different companies, a lot of different environments. As an intern, people don’t have a lot of strong expectations on what you have to deliver, so you’re not really under the microscope to have to deliver a lot. So I think that’s a fantastic experience. I think I definitely benefited more from those experiences than just starting courses in school. It was actually that after those experiences my course grades kind of degraded because I kind of lost interest in them. This is not to say don’t take your courses seriously — take your courses seriously, they are still important. So yeah, don’t take this the wrong way. I hope there are not any professors on this call.
Is Binance currently hiring interns and graduates, particularly in Africa?
Absolutely. We’re hiring at every level including interns and we’re hiring for every position. So if you’re a developer, if you can write some code, if you wanna be in marketing or a community manager, you wanna work on our customer support desk, etc. We’re hiring in all positions and we do look for interns. And we also run a large number of masterclasses in Africa, we do a lot of educational efforts. We also have a charity arm that’s fairly active in Africa. We’ve sponsored lunches for about a hundred schools. So we have a lot of those different types of initiatives and we’ll welcome anyone to come join our team. So for interns, we may not pay that highly, to be frank. But look, it’s a learning experience for you, it’s a learning experience for us as well. So yeah, we do wanna welcome opportunities for you to come and join us, and we can learn together.
What would you say is the most desirable skill or attribute that you would like Binance employees or potential future employees to have?
So I think every skill is okay. My general advice is like this — you wanna find something that you’re good at, that you’re interested in and that’s of value to the world. It could be programming, it could be business development, it could be marketing, it could be customer support, it could be legal, it could be HR, it could be finance. There’s a lot of different fields that you can go into. Usually people are interested in what they’re good at, usually those two tend to combine. There are some special cases where people are good at something but they hate it, that’s usually not a good combination. Once you find those two, you gotta — that skill should be valuable to other people in the world. If you can find a combination of those three, then you’re in a pretty good place and over the long term you should be able to realise the value of that. You’ll become exceedingly good at it and you are likely to work hard at it. But overwhelmingly though more of our higher valued positions are in the tech area, so developers, product designers, QA people, DevOps, etc. So more of our longer-term opportunities are in those areas so if you have a tech background, that’s an area we have a large number of positions for. We also have a large number of positions for customer support etc. If that’s what you’re interested in, helping people, then those are good roles as well. Many of our customer support people, when they join customer support may be viewed as a lower rank position, but they actually advance through the ranks to our other groups as well. It’s a good entry point to Binance, as well. So all of those things are possible.
What is the screening process Binance makes before listing new cryptocurrencies in terms of deciding should they be allowed on the trading platform? How would you see that process change as the market matures in terms of getting more into the mainstream or in terms of adoption, how would you see that process change?
I wrote an article on LinkedIn three years ago about the listing process. Before we looked at a lot more criteria but as we mature now we look increasingly more at just one metric — number of users. So if you have a project or product that has a large number of users it’s much easier to get listed on Binance. If there’s a large number of users using your product, then most likely your project is valuable.
But even with this, the definition of the number of users is a little bit tricky — do we count the number of addresses on the blockchain? Do we count the number of transactions on a blockchain? Or do we count the number of users you publish for your app, do we look at download numbers for your app, do we look at Twitter followers, do we look at Telegram group size? So we actually look at a combination of all of those things. But we actually don’t publish what the formula is because each case is a little bit different and also whatever formula we publish, if we say look it’s 20 percent followers plus 20 something else, people will try to game it. People can engineer, people can buy Twitter followers, etc. Very often we also look at Github commits, how often (they happen). We try to look at everything to judge how active the project is. It’s generally quite hard to fake all of those numbers. It’s quite easy to fake any one of those numbers, but it’s usually more work than to build a real product and to fake all of those numbers. The overwhelming criteria we look at is the number of users, but if you have a very new product, if you’re at an early stage then we’re very careful with it. We may look at investments or give a grant but we may not list right away. So that’s kind of the decision that’s at a very high leve. There’s of course a lot more details to that, but at a very high level that’s the overwhelming criteria we look at.
Are there any opportunities like mentorship or developer training provided by Binance to help student clubs, particularly in Africa?
Frankly, I’m not aware of any developer training specifically sponsored by Binance in Africa. Also not so many mentors. Those are relatively difficult to organize because the good developers are generally quite busy developing other projects. So I would say the best chances are just sort of mentorships, internships, where you can learn from the other sort of developers. We do have multiple teams in Africa, I guess in West Africa. But earlier in Nigeria we had a team of just under 100 people for Bundle, which is also a hundred-percent owned blockchain wallet. It’s independently branded and it’s led by one of the relatively famous entrepreneurs, Yele. So we don’t specifically have a developer training program. We have what we call a Binance masterclass, which focuses on educating people about blockchain but that’s more consumer-focused, less developer-focused to be honest. Not to mention mentors for blockchain, just even hiring blockchain developers is quite difficult because the good ones are quite busy. There’s a lot of different projects going on. The best thing I would recommend is, there is quite a lot of information on the internet and that’s really the best place to go. The requirements are basically having an internet connection on a laptop. There needs to be a lot of self-learning that needs to happen. I think it’s relatively difficult for us to set up mentor programs where people teach people programming one-to-one. It’s generally very expensive and it’s very hard to find mentors who want to do that. The good developers, they’ll want to write code themselves. So it’s better to get internships in that regard, that unfortunately is the situation as I understand it.
What are some of the problems that you face, it could be everyday problems or large-scale issues like in Africa? How would you go about articulating those large-scale issues like in Africa, whether they are economical or social?
I actually don’t really have a smart answer for that. The way Binance is really organized is that I don’t think that I have any smart ideas on how to solve those big problems top-down. I think some of the bigger problems need to be solved bottom-up. So the way Binance tried to attack this type of situation is we have many different teams working on many different problems. Some of them are overlapping, some of them are not. And one day, some days some people will solve some problem. So I don’t really believe in centralized planning, me being the smart strategist and trying to come up with some strategy that will solve big problems. I think today we face many big problems. We don’t have a very high degree of freedom of money, our money is not free and we constantly get abused by inflation, quantitative easing, high cost of cross-border transactions, not enough investment in less developed countries, etc.
All of them are very big problems but I never really position myself as the guy who will solve all of those problems. So we have a team in Africa, Bundle, which I mentioned just a minute ago. They are helping to provide financial access to people in Africa. We have multiple things that we try, but it’s not to say any one of them will succeed in any way. From our perspective, we have somewhere around a few thousand people trying this thing, trying to solve small problems one at a time constantly, so hopefully given enough time we will solve them. If you look on a day-to-day basis we make very small changes, but if you look at our yearly or multiple-year basis, we look back, we say well, we actually made some progress. I think basically from my perspective it’s really bottom-up driven. So we just collectively work on different problems that we think are meaningful and hopefully at some point we’ll help crack some of those bigger problems. So I, unfortunately, don’t have any sort of big plans to say, hey how do we solve the poverty problem, or how do we solve this other problem. I think problems are solved very incrementally so I don’t really have a specific answer to your question. I apologize but that’s kind of how Binance is run.
A local central bank in South Africa is currently piloting a digital currency. What’s the impact of that central bank cryptocurrency? Specifically within Africa, given the background of the Free Trade Agreement which will make Africa borderless — what’s the impact of that on crypto startups and what’s the best way for crypto startups to defend themselves?
I think there are pluses and minuses in those situations. A number of things could happen and they could be positive or negative. Now the positive things first. Number one, when a central bank issues a cryptocurrency, a digital currency based on the blockchain that provides very strong credibility and that validates the blockchain concept very heavily for that population — so the population will say hey, look blockchains are serious, there are central banks issuing a digital currency on the blockchain so that lends a lot of credibility to towards our industry, which is really good. It also educates the population about blockchain, digital currencies and now everyone’s learning about it and they and they’re learning most likely in a positive fashion that the central banks are issuing it, not some drug lords. Digital currency, that was very often associated with Bitcoin. The other benefit could be that if this digital currency can be used by cryptocurrency exchanges like us then it provides additional fiat on-ramp and a more intermediate bridge between the crypto world and and the fiat world. So there are many good possibilities along those lines.
There are also many potential negatives along those lines. Number one — the central bank digital currency itself. Even though you may use some of the same technologies as blockchain, they may be a publicly private key, encryption, etc. But in most of the first iterations the central bank digital currencies probably are very centralized, they’re probably unlimited supply which means that the central bank can mint additional coins as they wish. So we’ll continue to have inflation which basically takes our wealth away. They probably will have restrictions on our ability to use them, so if you want to send a million dollars from Africa to China there will probably be a lot of questions asked, you probably still have to supply a lot of documents which reduces the freedom aspects of using that blockchain. There may be even additional surveillance tracking built into the blockchain so that we actually lose our privacy and anonymity, so there may be a negative to that.
There’s another negative which could be that the central bank says okay, now we have a central bank digital currency, we’re gonna ban Bitcoin, we’re gonna ban all the other cryptocurrencies, this is the only one you can use. So all of those are potential things they could do. I’m not saying that anyone’s doing that, well some of them are doing that some of them are not. I actually don’t know the specifics of South Africa so we have to see, just because the government’s issuing a digital — but it’s also conceivable the South African government will issue a central bank digital currency that’s limited supply, high degree of freedom of transactions, very little interference and low fees, crypto exchanges like us, or any crypto business can integrate with that directly…then that’s fantastic, that’s great. Then we have a much more seamless bridge, we don’t need stablecoins that much. So there’s a lot of different ways you could go, so it’s not a complete positive, it’s not a complete negative. We have to look at the specific situation to see hey, are these really the features of this central bank digital currency? Is it really limited supply, is it really safe, is it really high freedom, low fees, etc. We have to look at those things on a case-by-case basis, so until they come out we don’t really know. We have to look at the specific properties of each currency, but so there could be pluses and minuses which I would just have to see.
So for crypto startups generally, you think the industry is not going away soon or it won’t impact our margins to make money?
I think on that point, we don’t have to worry too much. I think unless the country strictly bans any involvement of crypto businesses, it’s usually a net positive for crypto businesses and startups. Whenever there are new things introduced there’s opportunity. Whenever more options are provided to our users there are more opportunities. So usually it’s positive unless they’re very strong restrictions about banning cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto businesses, and banning banks from working with crypto businesses. If there’s a lot of those restrictions then that’s usually negative for business, but if it’s just a central bank issuing a new digital currency that’s usually good
How can students and developers apply for internships and jobs at Binance?
We have a very lengthy job page. I think there’s probably like 300 positions on there, and the internship positions are there. We actually deliberately did all the listings on that one page, just so that the guys who are really interested have defined it. It does take some effort, we have a couple of HR people in Africa and they do look at the applications.
So the best way to get involved is really actually just apply directly on Binance.com’s website. So on Binance.com, at the bottom there’s a Career link. That’s really the best way to apply. It’s better than going through me. Which if it goes through me, I forget all the time, I get distracted so I drop things quite a lot. That’s usually the best place to go and if you specify where you’re from, which type of positions you’re interested in, going through the Binance website is actually the best way to reach out to us.
Although some people do use cryptocurrency as actual currency to trade and buy things, you know buy coffee, that sort of thing, the majority of people rarely look at cryptocurrency as an investment vehicle, so for instance holding gold or platinum or some other commodity like that. Are you trying to promote people into using cryptocurrencies as everyday currency, or keeping it as the status quo as an investment vehicle?
So I really want to encourage people to use it as an everyday currency. I think if you look at the longer-term, five-ten-twenty years from now, that would be the case where people are using cryptocurrency for everyday transactions — for small microtransactions, for big transactions, cross-border, etc. So I think as much as we are an exchange and we love people to be trading and that generates commission fees for us, but I really want to get the user usage and adoption out there. I think for cryptocurrencies so far the biggest use case is a commodity or asset where people trade and try to usually hold value. But I think that’s just one small aspect. I think longer-term, if you look at the population across the world how many people are actually traders, probably — I don’t know. There are a lot more people who just use money or who use investments etc. In order to get the mass adoption to that level, we really need people to be using that on a daily basis. I admit that right now it’s relatively difficult for most people on a daily basis, but I think that it just takes time to get there right, and as an industry, I try to push for that as much as I can.
Based on your past experience with Binance — how do you scale a product?
That’s a very broad, big question. There’s a lot of different ways. So I would say number one is before you try to scale it, you actually want to test if you have a product-market fit, if you have stickiness. Most of the scaling and pushing it out requires a lot of effort and money. So before that, you wanna test that. You wanna look at a couple of things. Does your product have stickiness? People who use a product once — are they going to use it again?
What’s the attrition, what’s the falloff rate, etc? Do people continuously use it, and also what’s the viral effect — does one person use it and tell two of their friends or not? Ideally, you want to build products where it’s viral on its own. That means at least one person has to tell other people and then you don’t have to do much marketing, and your product markets itself. But usually, if you have that you’re extremely, extremely lucky. Most of us don’t have that. Most of us take multiple iterations to get to that point. And you want to get feedback on your initial product which is really, really important. So I would say that’s before trying to scale your product because otherwise you’re just gonna spend a lot of money — you’ll get a hundred thousand users in, but then three months later you still end up with, I don’t know, a thousand users which is not good and you spent a bunch of money and effort. So you really want to make sure that the product-market fit is there and once you have product-market fit, then there’s a lot of easy ways.
I would recommend using a community approach. It’s usually much cheaper than spending marketing dollars. Binance started with a much more community-driven approach where we have Telegram groups, we have Twitter followers, we have a lot of volunteers in the community helping us spread the word. And then only much later we started spending money on marketing, like search engine marketing, App Store marketing, etc. So even today we spend very tiny amounts on marketing, so I’m actually not a marketing expert. I think if you look at the Coinbase Q2 report or Q1 report, they spend probably a hundred times more on marketing than we do but we have a very loyal user base, so I focus much more on what your users can do for you. So you want to have your users market for you.
It’s a very broad question. There’s a lot more that goes on — I need to know what kind of product you have, but if you’re building on Binance Smart Chain, there’s a very tight community on Twitter. So Twitter and Reddit are probably your community channels, you want to have a presence there. It’s actually not that difficult because right now the communities are relatively small, they’re relatively tight. You just get a couple of KOLs, they will do most of the work for you, so you just gotta tap into a few KOLs. So I would say that’s usually a much better approach than sort of mass advertising on search engines, buying keywords, etc. So try those approaches first and see how it goes, but before all of that make sure you have the right product and that’s usually the hardest part. If you have the right product then everything else is easy.
There’s another very valuable tool, which is your token. So if you design a token with exploring incentives in there, that’s usually a very, very strong marketing tool that most traditional businesses do not have, but again we have to go into a lot of depths there. You don’t want to make it like a scam that people just get in and then they lose money, but you want to design the token economics well. So it takes quite a lot of thought into it, but the token itself is a very strong advertising user attraction tool. You want to use that if you can.
If you could go back in time to when you started in Binance and give yourself advice, what would you say? What do you wish you knew when you were younger that would be useful to the student audience?
Of course, there’s a lot of lessons, depending on how much startup experience you guys have, et cetera. Running a startup is probably the most demanding job you could ask for. So this is a lot of challenges, a lot of things coming from out of left field. One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years is that everything that I thought was going to be a huge success didn’t turn out to be, and the things that turned out to be successes are usually things that I haven’t really imagined. The first thing is actually just mentally be prepared that whatever the brightest idea, the best thing that you think you have right now — it may or may not pan out, you may have to pivot many times. So mentally just have that mental capacity and have that mental flexibility around, that is very important. You want to be very committed to your project, you’re not doing it in a half-assed way, but you don’t want to be overly committed that you can’t change when things are not working. So there’s a very fine balance between the two, so I think that’s at least for me personally.
When I was quite a bit younger I had a lot of difficulty with those kinds of things, it took me a long time to learn and adjust. And then also the second thing, which I think is really, really important is there’s usually a lot of fluffy stuff. There’s a lot of guys who tell you all kinds of fancy stuff, business partners that promise you all kinds of great stuff. They have super strong relationships and all this fancy stuff that never materializes. So I would just say, any sort of business relationships — go down to the basics or focus on the users, so just follow the users. Then when you strip away all the fluffy stuff, what matters is execution ability. So the idea is not important, it’s how well you can execute. So again, it took me a long time to realize this kind of thing, whereas nowadays I focus much on execution ability. I don’t care about the fluffy ideas, I don’t care about how grand things are, I don’t care how strong people’s backgrounds are, I just care about execution ability. I’m very careful with — we don’t get married to ideas that have not been proven. I think basically for me it’s along those, a few very simple principles is basically what I stick to and generally helps me spend much less time on all the distractions.
What are your thoughts on councils and governing bodies, and whether they would have a positive or negative effect on crypto? China recently banned Bitcoin, and politicians are saying the US will probably ban Bitcoin in the future. What do you think?
Generally, no one can predict regulations because regulations are not made by one person. They’re usually made by multiple government regulatory agencies so I can’t predict it. But I think it’s very unlikely for the U.S. to ban crypto. I mean, we just had a crypto exchange get listed on Nasdaq so I think that’s very strong validation that the U.S. is an open democratic country with freedom of speech, freedom of code, freedom of business so I think that’s a huge testament to the U.S. Constitution. I think them banning crypto right now is going to be very unlikely. What’s more likely though, I think U.S. regulations typically focus more on AML so against terrorists, so they have to do KYC, follow the processes, etc. So there are likely going to be more and more of those clear restrictions which may be more cumbersome and restrictive to crypto businesses, but I think crypto itself will not be banned in the U.S. In other countries — less sure. In other countries there’s less clarity.
But fundamentally though, any countries that ban crypto outright are going to suffer, are going to miss out on a lot of the fintech innovations over the next few years or the few decades. So I think there are balances that countries have to think about again. I can’t predict what any one country is going to do. I think no one can because those are all usually group decisions that are formed over long periods of time. So that’s on the sort of regulation front. I think that fundamentally though, you can ban Bitcoin but I think it’s very difficult to ban blockchain technology itself. And even if you ban blockchain technology, there’s gonna be blockchain technology anyways, it’s a technology that will continue to evolve. It’s a concept and once the concept is spread in enough people’s minds, I think right now there’s probably like 300 to 500 million people who understand blockchain now, you can’t erase that concept. It’s like if we can ban the internet, there will be internet two anyways?. So I think that’s kind of my understanding of the sort of a current regulatory landscape. I don’t think crypto will go away and I don’t think it’s possible for countries to outright ban crypto completely. At the end of the day, Bitcoin doesn’t exist. Technically what exists is just your private key, which is a string of numbers that with some training you could (memorize). Or you can just remember 12 words which is your seed, and with some training, most people can remember 12 words in their heads, they don’t have to store it anywhere. So I think, remember you can’t make it illegal to remember 12 words in your head, so I think it’s basically impossible to ban.
There will be more and more regulations coming through. What industry players will have to do will have to be compliant with those to the extent possible, but at the same time there’s also DeFi, right? DeFi doesn’t do any KYC, AML. If the centralized exchanges become very cumbersome to use, then all the volume is going to move to DeFi and in DeFi an anonymous person can deploy a smart contract, which is just a piece of code running on the blockchain so that’s also increasingly popular now. So things can go different ways, it’s hard to say.
Why did you choose Cosmos for the Binance Smart Chain, what was the rationale behind that decision?
So very honestly, I didn’t use it. Our team, some other guy said that’s probably the best choice, I just said okay. At the time it was a high-capacity blockchain with very strong, fast throughput so they went with Tendermint. Yeah, so it wasn’t really my decision. I’m actually not an expert at it.
What are your thoughts on Solana compared to BSC and how you’d see BSC’s transactions per second compared to Solana?
I think scalability is really, really important because the two most popular blockchains are maxed out. They’re saturated, Bitcoin, Ethereum. This is why the gas fees on both networks are quite high, because once unsaturated, people bid for those places and the gas fees go high which actually removes access for the sort of poor guys, so it’s not that accessible. Their popularity is also their limitation. So scalability is really, really important, that’s why for the last little while I’ve always publicly said look, we need faster blockchains. We need fast blockchains but at the same time scalability is really, really important but it’s only one factor. We have many faster blockchains today but they don’t get a lot of users because it’s just very hard to bootstrap a new blockchain. We have to think about migratability, the ease of people migrating to your blockchain and usability and it’s not a very easy process to do because it’s a whole ecosystem.
Blockchains are whole ecosystems, so you have to have your blockchain explorer, you have to have your wallet, you have to have your hardware wallets. There are many different types of wallets — hardware wallets, software wallets, mobile wallets, and you have to have your developers migrate, you have to have your users migrate, you have to have your bridges that bridge from say the popular ones, Bitcoin or Ethereum, onto the new blockchains. You have to have cross-chain interoperability, so all of those issues need to be solved in addition to scalability. This is why the first version of Binance Smart Chain which is based on Tendermint and Cosmos, we just thought scalability was the most important thing. We made a fast blockchain but it actually does not have a lot of people using it. It has some but not a huge amount, and we learned from that the other things are important.
The Binance Smart Chain team, Solana is also in that camp, where they just made a fast blockchain but everything’s independent, everything’s new. You’ve got to use a new wallet, you gotta use a new explorer, you got to use a new everything. Whereas for Binance Smart Chain, the guys learned from that lesson and said well, we’re going to make Binance Smart Chain 100 percent compatible with Ethereum. So you can take the Ethereum Solidity smart contract, migrate to Binance Smart Chain with no cost so it’s very easy for the developers to migrate. It has scalability, the fees are low. So for the developers, it is much easier for them to attract users. The same wallet that works for Ethereum, Metamask, works for Binance Smart Chain with a very simple configuration change. They somehow got the Etherscan team to build binascan.io. I don’t know how they did it but they somehow got them to fork the code and it works on Binance Smart Chain. And for most guys, even for myself when I use that I was like okay, I know how to use this thing, it’s very familiar to me.
So then Binance.com acted as the bridge that bridges from Ethereum or other tokens onto Binance Smart Chain. Binance has the largest user base and most users are already holding custody with us. So they trust to store money with us, to use that as a bridge, and then we put our marketing power behind it. We also did a Binance Ecosystem fund which is 100 million USD, trying to give grants to projects. So all of these things probably contributed a little bit everywhere and that actually bootstrapped to Binance Smart Chain to be from a user, from a transaction account perspective, the highest number, the most popular blockchain right now. But in addition to your scalability, there’s a lot of other things you have to consider to bootstrap something.
So Binance Smart Chain, and actually I didn’t plan any of that, it just somehow came together. I think the team did a really good job doing that. I asked Binance to give all of our support behind it from a marketing bridging perspective so somehow everything came together and now it’s a relatively popular one. It’s not to say that Solana does not have a chance to be popular later on, anything could happen later. So I think right now, we’re still so early in the industry anything could happen later, the jury is still out. So I still support other blockchain development including Solana, including other blockchains and I think Binance Smart Chain can learn from the other developments as well. So yeah, that’s kind of how I look at things.
What do you see as the next game-changing industry for blockchain?
This is a very difficult question to predict, to be honest. I think, to be honest, when the internet first started, the internet was thought to be good in many different ways including video conferencing. It actually took almost two decades, more than two decades I think. Only recently we can do this type of video conferencing and we still get poor qualities like just now, right? So it still doesn’t really work and e-commerce was kind of thought about but we had a lot of credit card fraud, logistics wasn’t there, shipping wasn’t there, but it took almost two, three decades to materialize. For blockchain, it’s very difficult to say which ones are going to be the big ones later on, especially at what time they’re going to become dominant. Payment was one of the most obvious use cases that was first thought about in the Bitcoin whitepaper, but it hasn’t really taken off. Exchange is somehow taking off, wallets, other e-commerce, gaming haven’t really taken off so it’s very hard. DeFi took off and maybe NFTs — not sure yet that it is taking off but it still needs time to prove itself. I think the mistake most people make is that they think blockchain is only good for one thing, whereas I think blockchain is gonna be like the internet, where people thought okay, we have radio, we have TV, and then we’re gonna have internet. The Internet’s just the third channel, but later on, it turned out to be that the internet has internet radios, internet TV, everything else internet, e-commerce. So I think for blockchain, it’s an ecosystem of things that will develop over time. It’s not a single asset, it’s not a single use case technology. So I think over time we’re gonna see a very large diverse array of applications being built on blockchain, I don’t know which one specifically will take off and when. But I think if we give it a long enough horizon, say 20 years, 30 years, people are gonna use crypto everywhere. That’s what I think.
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